STEP 1 – If you have flood insurance, contact your agent or flood insurance provider and file your claim immediately.
I really hope you’ve already done this because the call wait times are going to be long! However, it’s really important you get your claim started TODAY! To learn more about why filing by August 31st is so important, click HERE.
STEP 2 – Contact a restoration and remediation company and get on their list.
You can Google search companies. However, I have had extremely positive experiences in the past with Service Master Southwest, Bio-One Houston South and Bio-One Houston. Owners Jerry and Paulette Janak, Michael Fulweber, and Matt Mistica (respectively) are all great people! If they can’t help you, they’ll be able to refer you to someone who can. Ask your restoration company how quickly they’ll be able to get to you. Additionally, seek their advice on whether you should take steps towards limiting additional damage or mold.
STEP 3 – Separate damaged from undamaged property.
Your insurance adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions in order to prepare your repair estimate.
- Item Description – Example: Samsung washing machine
- Make/model/serial number of appliances, such as washer, dryer, weed eater, lawn mower, drill, etc. – Example: Samsung washer, model HP3RX serial #45632
- Make/model/serial number of electronics, such as computers, cameras, etc. – Example: HP laptop serial #58862
- Age of the item. – example: 2 years old
- Approximate replacement cost of the item, – Example: $699.99
- Location of the item – Example: downstairs bedroom
STEP 4 – Start searching for a general contractor and check references and reputability.
- Do NOT pay a large amount down for repairs. Pay for work completed. Legitimate contractors can float some labor and materials.
- Check them out. Look at their website, Facebook, Yelp reviews, etc. Make sure you’re working with a legitimate company.
- Verify they have insurance. Yes, make them show you a policy. Fly-by-night companies will not have insurance. If an uninsured company screws up your house or causes additional damages, you could be double screwed.
- Trust your instincts. If they smell like a rat… Also, if they make promises which seem too good to be true. Trust your gut.
- Most of all, be patient. Supplies are going to be low – sheetrock, tile, wood, breaker panels, etc. There are a lot of people affected by this storm. Everyone would like to return to normalcy as soon as possible.
STEP 5 – Contact your car insurance company.
If your car or other vehicle was damaged during the storm AND you carry comprehensive insurance on them, notify your insurer and file a separate claim(s) on these items.
STEP 6 – Contact FEMA:
- Social Security number
- Address of the location where the damage occurred (pre-disaster address)
- Current mailing address
- Current telephone number
- Insurance information
- Total household annual income
- Routing and account number for your checking or savings account. This will allow FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into your bank account.
- A description of your disaster-caused damage and losses